Salem Community High School senior Brittany Goff needed just one year to show case that when it comes to cross country, she is willing to get the job done.
And now Goff has been rewarded for her hard work as she will prepare to follow the same running path that her older brother Thomas took after high school, by signing to run cross country at the college level at Kaskaskia College.
“I think it’s very exciting, because I have only ran cross country for one year and I got a scholarship out of it,” said Goff who prior to cross country had been playing volleyball since the fourth grade.
“I just wanted to try something different.” And Goff made an immediate impact for the Lady Cats team this past fall season, placing highest on her team in her very first race and going on to record a team-best 19th place finish at the annual Mt. Vernon Invitational, a team-best seventh place at the Chester Quad Meet while she finished second best on the Lady Cats at the annual Apollo Conference Meet that was held in Decatur in which she captured 18th place overall.
By the end of her only cross country season, Goff was shaving off time and came through strong for the Lady Cats in regional action helping the Lady Cats advance as a team out of the IHSA Class A Chester Regional by finishing 19th individually with a time of 21:58 and just four seconds off her teammate Saegan Phillips as the two ran stride for stride to the finish line.
Just how will Goff do up at the next level? Her high school coach Geff Purcell isn’t much worried about the senior because of her commitment to the sport and her soon-to-be cross country coach Mike Hargis sees a heavy amount of upside to Goff’s upcoming running days.
“She is an extremely hard worker with a great work ethic,” said Purcell who noted that Goff was a perfect attendee when it came to the Salem Cross Country summer workouts that even included at times some two-a-days.
“She learned the ropes quickly and took it and ran with it and we (himself and coach Hargis) think that will translate well at the next level. When runners make it to college, they are pretty serious and her being around like-minded runners will help push her.”
“She is driven and is enthusiastic,” added her KC Blue Angels Cross Country coach Hargis. “And she has the possibility of making even bigger improvements and dropping her time. She just sort of has this drive about her.”
Goff describes herself as a racer that is on the verge of crying when a race first gets underway and she is working feverishly through the first 800 meters. But once in the thick of things, Goff turns things over to auto-pilot as she focuses in on passing her opponents which is a strategy by proof that has resulted in some strong finishes.
The Blue Angels cross country team, which finished up this most recent season with a team best 30th place finish at the NJCAA Nationals, will feature a strong recruiting class that includes Goff and four returning runners from last season’s team as KC aims to top their mark at nationals this upcoming season.
Goff, who plans on getting her associate degree at KC with a potential future move to somewhere like Southern Illinois Edwardsville in the dental field, is ready to go and get started on the running courses at the college, hoping to shave her times down the 20’s and even potentially 19 minutes.
“I thought I was going to be dead last when I first came out for cross country,” said Goff who admitted to being tentative at first. “But as it went on, I found out that I could actually get better and that is what I did.”
Pictured are Brittany Goff (Center) and her parents, Joe and Kim Goff. In back is Mike Hargis, KC Cross Country Coach and Geff Purcell, Salem Cross Country Coach.